Kudzu, the nuisance vine that has overgrown almost 10 million acres in the southeastern United States, can be used as a dietary supplement for metabolic syndrome.
Scientists in Alabama and Iowa have found that root extracts from kudzu show promise as a dietary supplement for metabolic syndrome that increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and problems with their body"s ability to use insulin.
Those disorders mean a high risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases.
Lead researcher J. Michael Wyss showed that kudzu root extract contains healthful substances called isoflavones.
People in China and Japan have long been using kudzu supplements as a health food.
The study found that a kudzu root extract had beneficial effects on lab rats with metabolic syndrome.
After two months of taking the extract, the rats had lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels that a control group not given the extract.
Kudzu root "may provide a dietary supplement that significantly decreases the risk and severity of stroke and cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals," the article notes.
The study appears in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.